Cat Noises and What They Mean

Did you know that aside from birds, cats have the widest range of vocalizations among domestic pets? Although some cats are more talkative than others, their articulations are often complex and nuanced. For this reason, it is not always easy to understand what they are trying to communicate.

Be that as it may, some cat noises are more common than others. And if you are looking to find out more about your fluffy companion’s “vocabulary”, here is a list of the most common cat noises and what they mean.

1. Meowing


Meowing is one of the cat noises you will likely hear the most. While kittens are more vocal about their needs, adult cats meow exclusively in the presence of humans.

With that said, meows do not sound or mean the same. Since meowing comes in different forms, it can be categorized as follows:

• Low-pitched meowing

Low-pitched meowing usually indicates a long-term grumble or complaint. In other words, a certain turn of events is not to your pet’s liking.

• Mid-pitched meowing

This standard type of meowing means that your pet is asking for something. It is up to you to find out what it is!

• High-pitched meowing

If you hear high-pitched meowing, you may need to double-check it. It means that your pet is either startled or hurt.

• Drawn-out meowing

Long, drawn-out meowing indicates that your companion wants something specific. Perhaps they want to remind you that they need to go out for a walk?

• Repeated meowing

No need to worry about the standard repeated meowing! It simply means that your fluffy companion is excited.

• Short meowing

Short meowing, or “the mewl”, is your pet’s way of saying: “Hello, human!”

2. Purring

Generally speaking, purring expresses intense emotion. Although you may be inclined to think that it indicates pleasure and satisfaction, this is not always the case. In fact, purring can also be a sign that your pet is uncomfortable or in pain. To that end, it is important to remember that cats use purring as a form of self-soothing as well.

3. Yowling

At first glance, yowling may sound like a combination of different meows. However, your fluffy companion is going to use it only in cat-to-cat communication. This shrill sound often denotes an ongoing argument, territorial concerns, discomfort, or worry.

4. Caterwaul


Caterwaul is a hollow-sounding, mournful version of a yowl. It can also be described as intense and prolonged moaning. Simply put, it is a mating call. If you have not spayed your pet, you can expect to hear it several times a year.

5. Hissing, snarling and growling

Whenever your fluffy companion feels threatened, they are going to hiss, snarl, or growl. These sounds last anywhere between a fraction of a second and several seconds. Unlike snarling and growling, hissing can also allude that your pet is in pain.

6. Chattering (chirping)

If you catch your pet’s jaw trembling while they are emitting a sequence of high-pitch noises, know that they are chattering. Also known as chirping, this cat noise indicates that your fluffy companion has its eyes on the prey. Although chatter is used to vocalize either frustration or excitement, some scientists believe it to be a hunting tactic as well.

Cat Talks Go Both Ways

Getting acquainted with different cat noises and their frequency will help you in the long run. By doing so, not only will you know what they mean, but also how to address them. And if you plan on introducing a new member to your fluffy family, remember that you should always consider their vocal habits before making the final call!

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